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Bear Hugs: Romantically Ridiculous Animal Rhymes    by Karma Wilson & Suzanne Watts order for
Bear Hugs
by Karma Wilson
Order:  USA  Can
Margaret K. McElderry, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This beary whimsical, poetical picture book is perfect reading for Valentine's Day (it even includes a Bear Hugs greeting card and envelope to match the occasion). Karma Wilson's zany verses are witty and amusing, while Suzanne Watts gives us delightful portraits of affectionate animal antics, that induce smiles.

From 'Rhinocerkiss' to 'Some Bunny Special', 'Seal with a Kiss' and 'Love-a-bull' (my overall favorite), we get to see all kinds of caring critters - mostly in pairs, though the feline in 'The Cat's Meow' is clearly narcissistic. Kids will have fun with 'bear hugs' and 'turtle love', and will laugh to see how greed takes over at the romantic porcine 'Pignic'.

They'll enjoy narrating the monkey's Valentine: 'Eee... Eee... Eee... / Ooo... Ooo... Ooo... / It's true, it's true. / I'm ape for you!' They'll feel for the poor fellow who makes a 'Moosetake', and be happy for the 'she-porcupine' who finally meets her match - 'To him that dear girls felt as soft as a pillow. / The prince of her dreams was a young armadillo.'

This loveable picture book ends with a Valentine to the reader, beginning 'It's plain as can be, so easy to see, / that animals love just like you and like me.' Enjoy chuckling over these critter verses with a child, and don't forget to finish with some big Bear Hugs.

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